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September 29, 2023

City Manager holds First Community Meeting

Jeff Kay and city staff get an earful from residents

In an effort to communicate more directly with residents, the City of Healdsburg has revived its occasional “Meeting with the City Manager” format, last held in 2019 when David Mickaelian had the job. 

Jeff Kay, who has been in the position since early in 2021, held his first such community meeting on Wednesday, July 13, upstairs at the Little Saint.

About 25 area residents were in attendance, as well as several key managers with city government, including Police Chief Matt Jenkins, Fire Chief Jason Boaz, Public Works Director Larry Zimmer, Public Communications Manager Malinalli Lopez and new Assistant City Manager Andrew Sturmfels.

All were available to answer questions from the residents to back up Kay, who served as host of the hour-plus meeting.

Topics that were discussed, either by Kay or in response to questions from the audience, included new park projects such as Saggio Hills, Badger Park and the Fitch Mountain public access and improvement, as well as the new homeless “village” at the former L&M Motel, and other housing and affordability issues.

Also discussed were the progress of a new cannabis policy and business tax; bike paths and safety; and a forthcoming upgrade to Healdsburg Avenue north of Powell Street, which will include protected bike lanes, pedestrian walkways and other improvements.

Of concern to residents was the Honor Mansion request for a hard liquor license, the new operator of Villa Chanticleer, community wildfire protection and the future of 4th of July fireworks in town (“One word: Lasers!” said somebody in the room).

“I’m pleased with the outcome of the meeting this week,” Kay told the Tribune following last week’s meeting. “We had a good turnout and an engaged group. It’s helpful for me to hear what residents are interested in and concerned about. I know our staff and councilmembers feel the same way.”

He said that going forward, he’d “like to hold a similar event every few months or so. That’s in addition to all of the topic-specific community meetings we hold.” 

All meeting details, with agendas and other information, are published on the city web page at www.healdsburg.gov.


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